Lungs Project: Waves of Displacement
August 2020, I was paired with South African film photographer, Nkosinathi Khumalo to curate a poetic-visual story for Lungs Project Magazine's Visions of Home. After a series of discussions, with him being from the coast - but living in Johannesburg - and me, being an islander living in London, we both wanted to tackle shared feelings of displacement. Although we were from completely different backgrounds, we both felt cynical about nationhood and land due to rising economic strifes, colonisation, migration, political corruption and climate change. However, the sea was uncontainable and borderless. I learned how similar the Zulu people on the coast were to mine. How our languages, rituals and culture share commonalities. Our pairing birthed, Waves of Displacement: Amanzi Ayaphilisa. In the project, we share stories, frustrations, artificial waves, dreams and traditions. Here, the land is not the only narrator of our history as African people. Click here for more.
Double Dutch: Of Skin and Sand
As National Art Gallery of The Bahamas describes:
"Of Skin and Sand," brings together Jamaican artist Leasho Johnson and Bahamian artist Edrin Symonette who have developed individual projects that speak towards issues of gender constructs, masculinity and sexuality within a Black Caribbean context. Boundaries are reinforced and broken down through societal and practical experimentations as they work in the NAGB's Ballroom to develop unique installations that dialogue with each other in confrontational and powerful ways. - NAGB, 2017
In response to the works of Johnson & Symonette, my poem and performance Better in The Bahamas speaks to the fragility and pressures of masculinity in our society. The repetited line "our men are made of water" brings attention to killings of men, while challenging the notion that men are hard and unmalleable. For the performance, I dressed in an all black dress, suited for a funeral, with a sand-like covering over my face. As a woman, I did want to be as ambigous of a figure as possible, a conduit of sorts. Blending into the bold black lines and neutral colors in the room.
Edrin Symonette: Residues of a Colonial Past
In 2016, I was approached by artist and sculptor, Edrin Symonette, to write a poem in response to his latest installation, Residues of a Colonial Past. Residues explores traditions, beliefs or structures left behind after colonization in The Bahamas (and wider Caribbean). Deconstructing the homebuilding process of, “quicklime and slacking”, Symonette constructs his own questions surrounding Bahamian identity and the affects of slavery.
My poem, Peeling, was the response to Symonette’s installation. It explores the foundation that sustains Bahamian culture by reflecting on The Bahamas’ ugly past of slavery and colonialism. The voice begins by rebelling against systematic evils woven into her culture. However, she finds herself at a dead-end, questioning whether an identity exists outside of the painful. In the poem, sugarcane, cotton, peas soup and Christianity symbolize our attachments to traditions birthed out of colonization. My rhythm and tonal pitch is intentional; reflecting a dual sense of rage-somberness, ritual-change, rebellion-defeat. This video was exhibited in NE8 @ National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.